On May 1 of this year, I got an email from PRX asking me to please schedule time for a call the following afternoon for news on the Talent Quest. That was the call I’d been waiting for since submitting my pilot show to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) back in early December 2007. I freaked out for about 24 hours before I was informed that CPB was not interested in funding Curiosity Aroused. They asked that I not mention it publicly until the news was released the following week.
Nearly two months later, they finally have released the news, and so I can tell you all. From the Talent Quest side, CPB gave funding to my two fellow contestants, Al Letson and Glynn Washington. On the Launch side of things, CPB gave funding to Majora Carter instead of Julia Sweeney (and chef Mark Bitman), so it was a double loss for the skeptical community (though I’m really looking forward to seeing what Al, Glynn, and Majora produce).
I’ll be honest, I was surprised. Thanks to you all, I won the popular vote in every round by a terrific landslide, and when the three PRX pilots were finished Curiosity Aroused was picked up by more radio stations than the other shows combined. Listeners to those stations wrote in to give praise and request more episodes, so all together I thought my chances were okay. But hey, most people have an okay chance of not getting mauled by bears, and that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to them. I guess what I’m saying is that at least I didn’t get mauled by bears.
A lot of people have been asking me what I’m going to do now, a question that has always baffled me as it implies that I wasn’t already doing plenty of things that extend indefinitely into the future. I still love Skepchick, for starters, and that’s continuing to get more and more exciting. A is doing a fabulous job with the Skepchick and Skepdude calendars, which you can order here. She also organized some fantastic skeptical photo shoots at TAM6 for an upcoming project.
There’s also the other Skepchick project I alluded to earlier. I’m pleased to inform you that I have a few teenagers who are going to help me start up a teen version of Skepchick, completely run by the young-uns and focused on topics of interest to them. I’m still working out the logistics, but if there are any WordPress experts out there who would like to help, I could use some advice on multi-blog hacks. (I mean, expert experts, who know about symlinks and autoconfigs and stuff.) If there are any young female bloggers out there who think they might want to join in, you can contact me as well.
I’m also still going to host Boston Skeptics in the Pub, and work to promote and support smaller groups around the world. I love seeing you all step up and get organized — it’s fun and educational. It’s funducational! Wait, that didn’t work. Sorry. You get my point.
The point is, I’ve always had all this going on. Before the Talent Quest, I had no serious desire to be on public radio. I’m grateful for the experience it gave me and for the chance to work with such amazingly talented people, including my fellow contestants, the folks at PRX, my engineer Mike Wilkins, my sound editor John Huntington, and my producer Richard Paul. I’m equally grateful for getting a platform to introduce more people to Skepchick and the skeptical community as a whole.
When I first heard about CPB’s decision, I was down for a while and felt as though I was faced with a decision: whether to just give it up or to refocus and come back stronger. Eventually I accepted that getting rejected for public radio funding by one corporation doesn’t mean I couldn’t get funding from others. Hell, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t move beyond public radio to, say, commercial radio, or satellite radio, or to an official Skepchick podcast. At the beginning of this year, I promised you all I’d rock even harder this year than I did last year, and I intend to keep that promise. With that in mind, I’m going to be devoting my energy to all of the above . . .
. . . plus maybe a TV show.